Using characters to sell snack foods to kids had been around since Mickey Mouse ice cream in the 1930’s, but the popularity of Pac-Man and other early video games like Space Invaders and Donkey Kong opened up a whole new frontier for licensed products. This packet presumably came out of a large multipack, if anyone has a picture of that I’d love to add it here.
Only the most popular fads received the coveted licensed ice cream treatment in Australia, so it’s a testament to the legendary Taito Space Invaders video game to see this Milk Bar advertising sign from the early 80’s. While it was the first video game ice treat it wouldn’t be the last, as I’ll show in future posts. I’m looking for the wrapper and box for this ice cream if you know of one, also who was the lucky person that won the actual cabinet? Straight to the pool room.
During the peak of Mork & Mindy TV fever in 1979, Peters Ice Cream Australia released a licensed frozen yogurt known as “Mork Food”. It featured a great cartoon version of Robin William’s Mork character, with some of his sayings and catchphrases on the side. I’m not sure what other flavours were released, let me know if you have any more info via the contact form.
Around 1980 Nabisco offered these posters as in-pack premiums in their Weeties and Crispies cereals. A great selection of Marvel characters were featured, courtesy of Newton Comics, Marvel’s Australian licensee through much of the 1970’s.
Great example of late 1970’s / early 1980’s Milk Bar ad design for Streets Paddle Pop ice cream, featuring the new Bubble Gum flavour!
These four masks appeared on the back panels of Australian Kellogg’s Cornflakes 750g cereal boxes in 1980 to promote The Empire Strikes Back. The smaller 500g boxes featured make of Luke Skywalker, C3PO, Bossk and Boba Fett.
Toltoys Star Wars
Painting Design Book
This is the hard to find Toltoys Australia version of the Star Wars Painting Design Book, known as Kenner’s Dip Dots in the US. There is a New Zealand Toltoys logo box as well, but that one is nearly identical to the US Dip Dots version. Issued in 1978.
This is a great panel presented by three of the most knowledgeable and respected collectors of vintage Star Wars items from Australia, at Star Wars Celebration 2019, check it out:
Doctor Who has enjoyed a close relationship with Australia since the very beginning, with several key writers, a popular companion (Tegan) and even the composer of the famous theme music being Aussies. The show enjoyed a loyal following on the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) from 1964 until the end of the original series in 1989.
As a child of the 70’s my Doctor of choice is and always will be Tom Baker. He was beatified in 1981 by the Australian licensing gods with his own Streets ice cream, which as you know by now (if you’ve read my blog before anyway) is a sure sign that you have officially arrived Down Under. The TV ad for these ice creams has also turned up, with a grainy VHS copy uploaded to You Tube in 2011 by some kind soul.
The ice cream box and wrapper are extremely tough to find, I believe only one example of each has appeaered on Oz Ebay in 13 years. While I wasn’t able to win them I did manage to swipe the pics, they are poor quality but what can you do? If you were the lucky purchaser (or seller) of either of these items I’d like to both apologise for my use of your pics and plead for new ones!
Above is the landscape side of the box, here is the portrait…
And from a seperate auction, the wrapper (flattened)…
Another exclusive-to-Australia piece of Whomabilia is the rare “Showbag”, a plastic bag of cheap toys and ephemera sold at local agricultural and royal society exhibitions throughout the country, notably the Royal Melbourne Show. I sold the example below on ebay many years ago, and it is now one of the very few items I regret parting with. Another couple have turned up over the years, I cant find any references to what was inside but if any of the Whomaniacs out there know drop me a line and I’ll update this post.
The Showbag (Yes I should have used any background other than white)…
1970’s Toltoys Six Million Dollar Man Model Kits
Issued outside Australia by Fundimensions, these great unpainted snap-together kits featured Steve Austin wrestling an alligator in “Jaws of Doom” and lifting a gorilla in “Fight for Survival”, which I presume is named for the ape! The best feature of these for the unskilled modeller (such as myself) is that they required no glue, a fact trumpeted on the box art.